Who Ya Gonna Call? The South African Ghost Police

The South African Police Service apparently has dozens of officers trained in “spiritual policing” in order to investigate “occult-related crimes” and other various situations involving ghosts, goblins, witches and the like. I really wish I were making this up.

Being called on to investigate noises after dark is all part of a policeman’s lot, but some officers are specially trained to look into things that really do go bump in the night, according to Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko.

In a written parliamentary reply on Tuesday, Nhleko said there were 40 detectives within the SA Police Service who had “received additional training relating to occult-related crimes”.

These included activities, spiritual practises, or rituals “which draw on forces hidden from normal human senses, beyond the obvious physical realm” and which led to criminal activities that broke the country’s laws.

So if someone accused of a crime says the devil made them do it, the South African police apparently take that seriously. And my eyes just rolled to Cape Town and back.

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  • John Pieret

    Being called on to investigate noises after dark is all part of a policeman’s lot, but some officers are specially trained to look into things that really do go bump in the night …

    Um … sorry, folks … that was me, my head and my desk …

  • Johnny Vector

    To be fair, someone did turn the Librarian of their local university into an orang-utan.

  • grumpyoldfart

    40 detectives within the SA Police Service who had “received additional training relating to occult-related crimes”.

    Money has to be diverted from regular police work into the ghostbusters department so that’s the first clue. If you look around you will probably find that all the woo-meisters getting paid as instructors are probably related to coppers in charge of funding the ghostbuster department.

  • Sean Boyd

    To the men and women of the South African Police Service: The X-Files is NOT a documentary.

    What a bunch of SAPS.

  • raven

    These included activities, spiritual practises, or rituals “which draw on forces hidden from normal human senses, beyond the obvious physical realm” and which led to criminal activities that broke the country’s laws.

    This is just made for Reality TV. I haven’t seen anything better.

    Ghost Hunters of the SA Police!!!

  • Sastra

    In a written parliamentary reply on Tuesday, Nhleko said there were 40 detectives within the SA Police Service who had “received additional training relating to occult-related crimes”.

    The best-case scenario on this is really a best case: police officers are skeptics who are trained to help lead supernaturalists into plausible natural explanations for these ‘crimes.”

    “There is no ghost — see, the tree branch bumps against the window when the wind blows. Your neighbor did not give you the Evil Eye — your crop failed because of poor soil.”

    Second-best-case scenario is that the police will assume a phony authority in “spiritual matters” and will always guide believers into more benevolent and less harmful interpretations. “Your ghost is a happy, loving ghost who watches out for you. The demon who made you sick has been destroyed by my special chant so from now on just worry about getting well.”

    I am not sanguine about either of these two options being implemented. The police presumably are part of their culture and accept the existence of “forces hidden from the human senses.”

  • John Pieret

    raven!

    Great idea!

    But we need a better title …

    Cops … the Ghost Files?

    Real Ghost Vice Cops?

    The First 48 of Ghosts?

    South Africa’s Most Wanted Ghosts?

    But the real question is … can we get Steven Seagal to be in it?

  • dannorth

    In the same vein as Sastra, there is the possibility that the aim of that force is to avoid direct and brutal action by the public by making it official police business.

    Lets hope it is the case.

  • Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk

    Nope, sorry to say they’re dead serious. They’re still very much caught up in the great Satanic Panic. Just the other day we had a trial where 3 teens doused a friend in gasoline and burnt her. They claimed they were trying to summon the devil.

  • dingojack

    So – if crime, such as Fraud, Is believed by the public to have occurred, and if we, ‘the Superior’, opine that it has not — it’s perfectly OK to completely ignore any possible criminal activity*? I mean, we know absolutely everything, amiriight? [/Devil’s Advocate].

    Dingo

    ———

    * what if that turns out to be true, but some other, completely different, criminal action has occurred…,

  • raven

    They claimed they were trying to summon the devil.

    Oh Cthulhu.

    Summoning the devil is the easiest thing in the world. According to some versions of xian mythology, the devil runs the world!!!

    Just vote Republican and you are there. “if you speak of the devil, he will come”–old European saying. I’m sure there are many other ways.

    (This is all in xian theory. In realityland, AFAWK, summoning the devil is impossible because he is just an imaginary character out of an old book of mythology.) I don’t know why anyone would want to summon the devil anyway, even in theory. He doesn’t follow orders, he gives them.

  • dhall

    Well, I guess if the police take over the role of dealing with witches and those possessed by demons, then maybe it will prevent average citizens from trying to handle it themselves, and save innocent people from being attacked and killed. Hopefully, the legal system has enough sensible people in it to find such ‘witches’ innocent. Not at all ideal either, don’t get me wrong, but it might beat the hell out of being set on fire by idiots. The fact that so many people all around the world are apparently regressing into superstitious bullshit, or have never left it behind in the first place, while there are so many serious, increasingly urgent problems that need attention, is both astonishing and depressing beyond measure. We don’t deserve to be in charge of this planet.

  • busterggi

    Proton packs? No.

    Containment system? No.

    Are they gods? No.

    Wannabes.

  • lorn

    It depends on what whey mean by training and occult related crimes.

    Head down to Little Haiti in Miami, or certain parts of New Orleans, a working knowledge of the local occult scene and their language can be quite helpful. Understanding that some individuals or groups are going to tend to be in conflict due to opposing views of which mythical supernatural forces they represent or believe in can go a long way toward understanding the many undercurrents and conflicts. The police can often best serve justice and the community if they stay neutral between groups and it is pretty hard to stay neutral if you don’t know who the players are or are too insensitive to avoid inadvertently insulting people.

    Yes, police are probably best served by maintaining a skeptical and science based logic system but they need to know enough not step on toes without good reason. To the extent beliefs in the supernatural and/or the occult are part of the local culture the police should understand those beliefs and be conversant in the language used.

    On the other hand, if they are training police to be practitioners of those occult practices then that would be BS and unhelpful.

  • pixiedust

    The level of occult power in SA is so strong that it snows in July and is hot in January.

  • http://theophontes.deviantart.com/art/Tardy-Ak-385824644 theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    Probably more like Sastra and lorn say. Nowadays. There are a lot of very bad things going down in occult circles in South Africa and a lot of murders (and rapes) can be traced back to such practices. As in religion, there are some people who think blood and pain make their woo more real somehow. I only hope the unit is better than that which came prior (Pfffft):

    The SAPS Occult Related Crimes Unit was established in 1992 during the final years of apartheid by born-again Christian Kobus Jonker, prompted by former Minister of Law and Order Adriaan Vlok. Jonker joined the SAP in 1969 and was previously head of the Port Elizabeth Murder and Robbery Unit. During his policing career he earned the nicknames “Donker Jonker”, “The Hound of God” and “God’s Detective”.

    It gets worse:

    SAPS members who want to serve in this Unit must acknowledge the supernatural world. They must strongly believe in Jesus Christ, because Satanism’s main enemy is Jesus Christ. It is not just a job, it’s a lifelong mission, involving the body, soul and spirit.

    I have met such people. They can even be well educated, and hold normal conversations, … until jeebus and the legions of satan comes up.

    There is a particular case that I know of (as I had shared a flat with the victim , for a short time while I lived in London) in which two self-proclaimed satanists raped an disembowelled their victim. She made an incredible recovery and went on to become a famous motivational speaker. (Link)

    On the “opinions” link in the OP (www.news24.com) there is a section called “MyNews24”, which hosts an endless (and often very entertaining) series of battles between South African atheists and myriad godfappers.

  • Childermass

    I’m not afraid of no ghost.

    Probably because they don’t ****ing exist.